Raiders, Chargers owners say words “Los Angeles,” newspaper writers can mail it in from there

OMG OMG OMG Mark Davis said something nice about Los Angeles! He’s totally moving the Oakland Raiders there!

“Los Angeles is a great option.” Davis said.

An option for the Raiders?

“Absolutely,” he said.

And just to be clear, he added: “Sure. We loved it when we were down here.”

And San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos said something nice about it, too, so the Chargers are totally moving there too!

“We’re looking into all our possibilities, all our options,” Spanos said.

Does that mean potentially re-locating to Los Angeles?

“I’m just keeping all my options open,” Spanos said.

And Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan hasn’t said anything about Los Angeles, so they’re totally not moving there!

Of course, cynical types might point out that sports team owners say these kinds of things all the time, whether they’re actually interested in moving or just trying to put pressure on hometown elected officials to get cracking on stadium subsidies. (Or both. There’s nothing saying owners can’t work both sides of this street.) But we don’t allow cynical types around here, so let’s welcome your 2015 Los Angeles Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers! They’ll totally find a vacant lot to play in by then.

Someone in NFL office says league plans return to L.A. soon, maybe, ARE YOU LISTENING OAKLAND AND SAN DIEGO?

Today (okay, actually Sunday night) in completely unsourced rumors/trial balloons being leaked by league-friendly sportswriters:

Per a league source, the current plan is that the NFL will send one or two teams back to Los Angeles within the next 12 to 24 months.

The timeline would include a team announcing its intention to move in the 2015 or 2016 offseason, with arrangements to play at the Rose Bowl or the L.A. Coliseum pending the construction of a new stadium.  Possible sites for a venue in L.A. include the AEG project at L.A. Live in downtown, the land purchased recently by Rams owner Stan Kroenke at Hollywood Park, Chavez Ravine, and a couple of locations that have not yet been publicly disclosed. Ed Roski’s shovel-ready site at City of Industry is not regarded as a viable destination.

Is Mike Florio’s report true? Who the hell knows! This is someone with the league saying the “plan” is to go back to L.A. soon — does this mean that it will only happen if a stadium deal is approved first, or that this is an attempt to shake loose a stadium deal, or even that this is an attempt to shake loose stadium deals in other cities? Florio specifically mentions the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, and San Diego Chargers as relocation targets, though it’s unclear whether he got this from his anonymous NFL source or if he’s just spitballing himself.

There’s even less detail here than in the last unsourced NFL-to-L.A. report, so probably best just to move along and forget Florio ever said anything. Except as an indication that the NFL really wants you to think of L.A. as a relocation threat for your team, if you needed reminding.

184 Chargers fans want a publicly funded stadium, TV station calls this “split” support

I have a busy day today (more on that … Thursday, looks like), so fortunately it was a slow news weekend around here. Though we did get an exceptionally stupid poll, courtesy of KGTV in San Diego:

The issue over how a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers would be funded continues to be divisive, according to a new KGTV poll released this week.

When asked if public money should be used to finance a new stadium, 36 percent responded yes, 47 percent said no and 17 percent were unsure.

That’s a bit worse than “divisive” — an 11-point deficit is “opposition” in most people’s book, even for polls with high margins of error. But more to the point, who was being polled, exactly?

The 15-question poll was conducted by SurveyUSA. 510 fans were polled for each question.

No indication how “fans” was defined (probably “people who answered ‘yes’ to ‘Are you a Chargers fan?’ on a robocall“), but still, if you take this poll seriously, the most reasonable takeaway would be: Even Chargers fans are mostly opposed to public money being used for a Chargers stadium. Still a stupid poll, then, but even stupider article reporting on it.

Chargers to ask for $650m-plus in city land rights to help fund new stadium

U-T San Diego has a smidge more information about that plan to put a San Diego Chargers stadium plan on the ballot in 2016: Team stadium czar Mark Fabiani says it will involve the city handing over development rights to Qualcomm Stadium, the team selling the rights to a developer for a whole bunch of money, then bundling a “portion” of the profits worth $650 million with $200 million in NFL money and $200 million out of the Chargers’ pocket to pay for a $1 billion stadium in downtown San Diego.

This is pretty much the same deal that Fabiani has been talking about for months now, and U-T San Diego, having abandoned any pretense at actual journalism, doesn’t bother to interview a single other person about it (except for one random “city resident” who doesn’t like the deal), so there’s a lot we still don’t know: Do the Chargers actually have a developer lined up who’d pay $650-million-plus for development rights for the Qualcomm site? Could they build downtown for $1 billion, including land costs? And if Qualcomm development rights are so lucrative, would the city be better off just developing the site themselves? (This might mean letting the team move if they have to clear the stadium space, but maybe the city could use some of the development riches to give fans gas vouchers or something to drive to L.A.)

The main takeaway here, such as it is, seems to be that if the Chargers can structure this deal to use only city land, not city tax money, it will only require a majority vote, not two-thirds.

Chargers ready to put stadium on ballot … in two and a half years

The San Diego Chargers ownership has been plotting a new stadium approximately forever, and now plans on waiting a bit longer still: Chargers stadium czar Mark Fabiani has said he hopes to put a new stadium on the county ballot in November 2016, in time for the next presidential election.

And how would that new stadium be paid for, exactly?

The Spanos family and investment partners would put up roughly $400 million and seek a $200 million loan from the NFL. The rub comes in how the remaining roughly $400 million would be financed.

That’s indeed a rub. As is the fact that the Chargers don’t know where they want to build a stadium yet. (Or as U-T San Diego puts it, “they are open to ideas.”) Maybe another two and a half years will give them a chance to throw some more funding ideas at the wall and see which ones stick — though at a certain point, given the success of their neighbors to the north, you have to wonder if they wouldn’t want to consider “build it our own damn selves” as a less time-consuming option.

Chargers, mayor meet on stadium, talk mostly about weather

Stop the presses! The San Diego Chargers and members of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s staff met yesterday to discuss a new stadium plan, and:

In a prepared statement, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office emphasized that the meeting was not the beginning of any formal negotiation on building and financing a new stadium, but more of an information-gathering exercise to learn more about the issue.

“The Mayor’s staff had an introductory meeting today with a Chargers’ representative,” said Matthew Awbrey, chief of communications for Faulconer. “It was an opportunity for both sides to meet each other in person, not the start of any formal negotiation.”

Okay, so actually maybe you don’t have to stop the presses. Except at U-T San Diego, where stopping the presses for the Chargers is already official policy, and which ran this story with the headline “San Diego stadium talks begin” that speculated wildly about where these non-negotiations will end up:

There’s no specific financing proposal, but the most likely plan would include contributions from the team and city with voters having to approve a ballot measure authorizing city resources as part of such a package. Another aspect could involve developing the city-owned sports arena property, where what is now known as the Valley View Casino Center is located, as part of any deal.

It seems pretty likely that Faulconer, despite his repeated insistence that he’s out to “protect taxpayers,” will be more aggressive about pursuing a stadium deal with the Chargers than his predecessors, especially given that U-T publisher and self-proclaimed stadium cheerleader Doug Manchester endorsed his candidacy. But “mayor, Chargers meet, don’t say whether they talked about anything” is an awfully low threshold for news. Let’s check back when something actually happens.

San Diego celebrates 50th anniversary of hands-down nuttiest stadium idea ever

Just because this was proposed back in 1964 doesn’t mean that there was every really a serious chance of San Diego building a floating convertible baseball/football stadium for the Chargers and Padres, especially since the Padres were still a Pacific Coast League team at the time. Still, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the holy crapness of it all:

Chargers: We need new stadium in preparation for L.A. team draining our coffers

San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos wants a new stadium — that’s not remotely news — and with a new mayor in town, they’re gearing up for another push for public subsidies — that’s not news either. What is news is that Chargers stadium czar Mark Fabiani has come up with a brand-new argument for why San Diego should hurry up and build a stadium, according to ESPN:

Mark Fabiani, special counsel to Chargers president Dean Spanos, said the organization would be devastated by a team outside of California relocating to Los Angeles…

“We have always kept our focus in San Diego to try and get something done here,” Fabiani said. “But at the same time, we have to be cognizant of the fact that if three-quarters of the owners were to allow a team to move to Los Angeles, it would devastate us economically.

“It would be catastrophic for the team financially if the league were to allow another team to go into the Los Angeles market and wipe out 30 percent of our premium sales.”

Let’s follow the bouncing logic here: The Chargers are dependent on the L.A. market for 30% of their premium sales, so the NFL returning to L.A. would be devastating. So if the Chargers don’t get their own stadium … what does that have to do with the NFL returning to L.A.? The only way a Chargers stadium would play into it would be that it would prevent the Chargers from threatening to move to L.A., but “If we move to L.A. we’ll cut into our ticket sales in San Diego” doesn’t make a lick of sense.

The only thing I can think of is that Fabiani is trying to imply that a new stadium would leave the Chargers rolling in so much dough that they could take the hit of an L.A. team without blinking, though then you have to wonder why they need to ask for free development rights to 266 acres of city property as a requirement of the deal. Either that, or he just saw that St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke bought some land in L.A. and thought, “Gotta find a way to use this as leverage without actually making a threat to move the team, because people won’t like that.” Let’s go with one of those for now — I have an email in to Fabiani, so will update once it’s light out on the West Coast.

UPDATE: And Fabiani has replied! “The information I provided was in response to a reporter’s question about the location of our premium customer base. There was nothing more to it than that.”

Chargers to new mayor: Congrats on election, now where’s our $900m stadium?

There’s a new mayor in San Diego, and the Chargers are all ready to greet him with their new stadium demands:

After meeting with a ballot lawyer on Tuesday, Fabiani said the team likely is looking at a city-wide special election in June 2015 to seek approval for a long-sought replacement for 70,000-seat Qualcomm Stadium.

“I think that because our issues are going to go to a vote, this is not going to be some kind of backroom deal that someone can characterize as a giveaway to downtown interests,” [Chargers stadium czar Mark] Fabiani said. “It potentially could be one of the most heavily campaigned issues in San Diego, maybe the most campaigned issue ever.”…

Plans for that project have fallen through, so the Chargers hope to build an open-air stadium east of Petco Park, home of baseball’s Padres. It would seat roughly 62,000 fans, with the ability to be expanded to 70,000 seats for Super Bowls. That stadium would cost between $800 million and $900 million, Fabiani said. Besides contributions from the Spanos family and the NFL, the Chargers still want to use proceeds from the sale or lease of the city-owned Qualcomm Stadium site and possibly the sale and lease of the city-owned site of the sports arena.

Okay, so what does new mayor Kevin Faulconer actually think of all this, since the Associated Press apparently didn’t think to check? Faulconer hasn’t said much in the way of specifics, but did earn the backing of U-T San Diego owner Doug Manchester, who has already established that he has no patience for anyone who isn’t a “cheerleader” for a Chargers stadium, so that’s probably a decent sign for the Spanos family. If they need to convince not just the mayor (and city council) but the voters in a referendum, though, that could be a tougher nut to crack. Presumably when Fabiani says “heavily campaigned issue” he means “we have a stockpile of unmarked twenties ready to go” — which he’ll probably need to, given the 100-1 rule.

Professional sports team chooses to still have stadium to play in for upcoming season

The San Diego Chargers did not opt out of their lease this week and leave themselves homeless for the 2014 season, which surprised absolutely no one. In fact, I’m only mentioning it here so that in the future, whenever anyone in the media starts screaming that “The team’s lease is expiring! They’ll have nowhere to play!”, I can then link to this item and remind everyone that leases expire all the time and no one has to go play football in the parking lot. Now move along, nothing to see here.